Experienced and successful inventors know to patent what is necessary. Often we hear about protecting a “system” or “complete apparatus.” That is not the way the patent system works. Rather, it rewards incremental improvements in technology. These improvements advance the state of the art. While the patent restrains trade for 20-years on that improvement, it publishes the innovation so that others can build and further enhance it.

One of our valued clients is Hyalta Aeronautics which develops advanced drone technologies. For example, one of their aircraft designs is branded Hydrone™. Significantly,, this drone operates underwater, in multiple flight modes and on the ground.

Credit: Hyalta Aeronautics LLC. Used with permission.

Mission Abilities

Hydrone can perform missions and tasks that no other aircraft can currently achieve. However, drones are generally well-known in the art. Furthermore, drones flying in hover and Newtonian flight are known. Moreover, patents protect the technology itself, not the capabilities or objectives of the technology.

Hydrone unmanned aircraft in submersible mode exiting submerged U.S. submarine. Credit: Hyalta Aeronautics LLC. Used with permission.

Particularly, just one (of many technologies) needed to make the Hydrone operate in multiple environments and modes involves a mechanical couplings. For example, these couplings relate to a shrouded, convertible ducted fan engine that rotates in multiple configurations. Correspondingly, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office granted U.S. Patent 10180083 on January 15, 2019 to Hyalta for this technology. Look at a representative patent drawing below. You don’t see underwater embodiments or even image of a 4-engine drone. Rather, it is the indispensable advance in the mechanical configuration of drive shaft, shroud and linear drive motor that enables all the advantages of the actual commercial product.

Figure 2A of U.S. Patent 10180083 for a convertible ducted fan engine.
U.S. Patent No. 10180083

Hyalta’s Patent Strategy

Hyalta Aeronautics knew exactly what was necessary to patent to achieve the commercial advantages of the Hydrone product and obtained exclusive rights to that innovation. Consequently, without the ‘083 patent technology, a competitor simply cannot create a parity product and thus the patent serves its intended purposes:

  1. a barrier to competition;
  2. exclusivity for 20+ years; and
  3. adding an identifiable asset to the valuation of the company.

In conclusion, we represent some of the most innovative companies nationally like Hyalta Aeronautics and appreciate the trust they put in our firm.

Anton Hopen

U.S. Patent Attorney with smithhopen.com.